This Week is National Email Week: To Whom do you Respond? (excerpted from BIFF)
To Whom Should You Respond?
Generally, I recommend that you respond to the same person or people in the same format used by the Blamespeaker(s). If it was an email or letter from her to you, then you can respond to her by email – if at all. If it was copied to another person (friend, boss, lawyer, etc.), then you should include that person in your response. If it was sent to a group of people, then respond to the group – such as using Reply All with an email.
If the Blamespeak was made to the public, such as in the newspaper, radio or television, then you should try to reach the same audience. It’s not always possible to reach the same audience with the same impact as the Blamespeak, but you should try the best you can – as quickly (and carefully) as possible. When you respond in public, it is particularly important to make sure to have it reviewed by someone else first!
How you respond will make a big difference to the HCP. If you inadvertently give him negative feedback, you will increase the intensity of his interactions with you, as HCPs can’t handle negative feedback. It’s better to use BIFFs and avoid talking about the past. Even if you are in a committed relationship or a position of authority and explaining your concerns about the past is necessary, it helps to put the emphasis on the desired future behavior – although you may have to acknowledge the past or address it officially. Just keep the focus on the future as much as possible.
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